BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Top-ranked Connecticut was too big, too
strong and too poised to let a hostile environment or some pesky
3-point shooters end its winning streak. The Huskies simply
overpowered another ranked opponent.
Rudy Gay quieted Indiana's crowd with 19 points and 12 rebounds
while five other UConn players scored in double figures, leading
the Huskies to an 88-80 victory Saturday over the
Hoosiers (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP).
"Coach always talks about being tough, going on the floor and
taking advantage of every situation," Gay said. "If I didn't do
that, the way they were shooting, they could have kicked it out and
hit a 3. So that could have changed the game a lot."
In their first trip to Bloomington since 1938, the Huskies
(20-1) were uncharacteristically erratic. They struggled with
turnovers, committing seven in the first 12 minutes. They allowed
Indiana (13-6) to rally twice from double-digit deficits and
couldn't seal the game until the final minutes even after building
a 20-point lead in the second half.
But UConn's talent managed to overcome those flaws and the
Huskies won their ninth straight and improved to 7-0 against Top 25
teams this season.
Gay delivered inside and outside, while Josh Boone and Hilton
Armstrong dominated the middle. Armstrong finished with 16 points
and eight rebounds, while Boone added 16 points, six rebounds and
All the Hoosiers could do was look for answers.
Playing again without forward D.J. White (foot), last year's Big
Ten freshman of the year, Indiana had to rely almost exclusively on
Marco Killingsworth inside. He finished with 15 points and six
rebounds -- not nearly enough for Indiana.
"That is a great basketball team, the best I've seen," Indiana
coach Mike Davis said. "They're so physical and have so many
weapons you have to try and take away, whew, I'm glad that one's
The Hoosiers countered UConn's size by spreading the floor. But
that didn't work, either. They shot 37.7 percent from the field and
were 10-of-29 on 3-pointers. Marshall Strickland led Indiana with
16 points and five assists, and Roderick Wilmont added 14 points.
Indiana has played two No. 1 teams this season and lost to both
by eight points. Then-No. 1 Duke beat them 75-67 on Nov. 30.
Indiana is 1-5 all-time against top-ranked teams in Bloomington.
While Indiana struggled to shoot against one of the nation's top
defenses, UConn shot 54.2 percent. The Huskies outrebounded Indiana
45-35, a figure that was more lopsided until the closing minutes.
UConn blocked seven shots compared with none for Indiana, and the
Huskies routinely went to the free throw line after penetrating and
"It's a building block we can learn from and then move on,"
Indiana's Earl Calloway said. "We need to keep trying to get
better and keep winning."
Indiana did take advantage of UConn's early miscues. It used a
flurry of turnovers to spark a 12-4 run midway through the first
half, which gave the Hoosiers a 29-20 lead.
Three minutes later, though, Killingsworth drew his second foul
and the Huskies pounced. With Killingsworth out, UConn closed the
half on a 19-5 run to take a 41-36 halftime lead. The margin could
have been even wider, but the officials reversed Denham Brown's
3-pointer at the buzzer, using replay to determine the shot wasn't
off in time.
The run didn't stop there. After Killingsworth opened the second
half by making two free throws, UConn scored 12 straight points to
build a 53-38 lead with 17:26 left. They led by as much as 63-43
and appeared to be coasting.
"It was their spread and ability to shoot 3s and our power on
the inside," Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said. "I think we
eventually got the power inside and the balance of transition and
hitting open shots. But they would not quit."
Twice the Hoosiers rallied. They scored seven straight points to
get within 13 and then used a 16-4 run to make it 73-66 with 7:48
left. Indiana even had a chance to cut the deficit to four, but Ben
Allen's wide-open 3 from the top of the key bounced off the front
of the rim.
Then the Huskies righted themselves. They took control with a
12-2 spurt that made it 85-68 and fended off one more late charge.
"We went back to who we are and what we are and played good
defense the last 8 minutes of the first half," Calhoun said.
"Rudy Gay stepped up when he needed to and our inside game is
starting to come around."